Rookie Mistakes: Tailgating Etiquette For Pre-Game Parties
For diehard football fans, there's nothing better than getting to experience the excitement of a live game at the home stadium. The only way to make your stadium experience better is to get into the tailgating festivities before the game begins. Tailgating starts a few hours before kickoff and gives fans a chance to grill up their own food, enjoy their own drinks, play some games and talk about the team's chances for victory. Tailgating for the first time can be intimidating, and if you haven't gone through the experience as a tailgating guest, you're probably wondering what things you should know before claiming your parking spot and unpacking your supplies. Get the info needed to tailgate like a pro with these etiquette tips and advice to avoid rookie mistakes.
Parking Lot Problems
Different stadium parking lots have different tailgating rules that you should adhere to if you don't want to get yourself kicked out or towed away. For starters, understand that your tailgating area has limitations. Just because you brought a deluxe tent, 10 family members and plenty of tailgating decorations doesn't entitle you to an extra parking space. Whether you're at an NFL stadium or a college campus, it's important to stay between the lines and be respectful of everyone else. It doesn't matter if the team is having a bad year; even if the stadium isn't packed, the tailgating party will be. One great way to carve out your space is to bring a canopy that's wide enough to fit around the sides of your vehicle so you can adjust how far it extends into the common area.
From Cooking To Cleanup
Cooking on the grill is one of the best features of the tailgating event. However, just because it's allowed doesn't mean you have to participate in the tradition. And if you grill, your entire menu doesn't have to depend on it. Experienced tailgaters bring a combination of food for grilling and food that's been prepared in advance. Sides, desserts, specialty dishes and other snacks can be made the night before and packed up for the game. With this method, people won't be waiting impatiently for you to get the grill going. As far as grilling goes, know that just because it's a big, friendly football community in the parking lot, you're not required to share with anybody. Take care of your own party first, and if you feel comfortable, go ahead and offer your famous recipe to fellow fans in your vicinity. And don't forget to help clean up if you're not doing the cooking.
Ice And Other Essentials
It's almost inevitable that you'll forget something when you're packing up for the pregame. Just try not to forget the essentials. Just as important as the cooler and the beverages is the ice that will be keeping it cold for several hours. For the most part, tailgating takes place during the cool months of the year, so the ice you bring is likely to keep your drink cooler longer. Bring a couple extra bags in a separate cooler for backup (you can also use this cooler for the drive up to keep meat and other food cold). The last thing you want to do is depend on strangers for napkins and plates, utensils and condiments. Although it's pretty easy to make a new friend with that bottle opener you forgot, depleting the resources of strangers is an unwelcome nuisance at tailgating.
Interacting With Others
You don't have to necessarily add value to the tailgating event, but you definitely shouldn't be a nuisance to fellow tailgaters or do anything that decreases the overall value of the event. Being self-reliant is the best way to avoid any problems. Satisfy the people in your party, and then, if you feel comfortable, extend courtesies to other football fans, always be friendly, share famous recipes and be willing to do your share. Another important thing to keep in mind is that nobody will be fond of you leaning against their vehicle, temporarily stealing their seat or taking a quick breather on their cooler, so bring your own chairs for everyone in your party to be comfortable.
As long as you pack right, come prepared with grilling utensils and all your food accessories, and respect fellow fans in the parking lot, there's no way you won't enjoy tailgating, even if it's your first time. From food containers to NFL gear, pack up for your first game with dining supplies and football favorites from The Lakeside Collection.